Direct marketing first fine under new powers for unsolicited text marketing

Businesses that use text marketing should take note of the Information Commissioner’s recent enforcement action. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a lead generation company £200,000, under its new enforcement powers, for sending thousands of unsolicited marketing texts. The company ran a marketing campaign in April 2015 that prompted 6,758 complaints in one month alone.

The ICO considered that the breach was serious due to the scale of the contravention over a short period of time and the volume of complaints. The breach was deliberate because the company was also in breach of an earlier ICO enforcement notice and it was still using unregistered SIM cards and dongles to avoid detection by mobile networks’ spam detectors. Further, as breach of an enforcement notice is a criminal offence, the ICO is considering further action.